Steller's Sea Cow Facts
The list of recently extinct animal facts continues with a page full of facts and information on the Steller's Sea Cow (also mistakenly spelled Stellar Sea Cow), a marine mammal of immense size that became extinct around 1768. When this sea creature was living, it was thought to have weighed up to ten tons and to have been up to 30 feet long (9 meters). This gentle-natured animal lived in the shallow Arctic waters where it was hunted by seal hunters, fur traders and even sailors who sought it for its food, fat and skin. Excessive hunting is what eventually drove the Steller's Sea Cow to extinction. Below is more interesting kid-friendly information about this animal including why it was such an easy target for hunters.
Steller's Sea Cow General Facts
- The Steller's Sea Cow both mated and birthed their young under water.
- Scientists believe that the Steller's Sea Cow was a monogamous creature that seemed to develop a strong bond with its mate.
- The Steller's Sea Cow got its unique name from the man who discovered it, Georg Steller, who was known for his extensive knowledge of Alaskan natural history.
- A combination of the fact that the Steller's Sea Cow swam slowly and that it could not remain underwater for more than 4-5 minutes made this animal an easy target for hunters.
- The meat of the Steller Sea Cow was described as tasting like veal and the fat, like almond oil. The fact that the meat remained fresh for much longer than other
meats, made it particularly appealing to hunters and sailors.
- The tough skin of this extinct mammal, similar to leather, was often used for making boats, shoes, and belts while the odorless fat was often used for oil in lamps.
- The Steller's Sea Cow was a herbivore that did not have any teeth. Its diet included primarily sea grass, kelp, and algae that the creature mashed instead of chewed.
- Less than just 30 years after its initial discovery, the Steller's Sea Cow became extinct. It is believed that there were only approximately 1,500 remaining when they
were initially discovered in the 1740's.
- Its closest living relatives are considered to be the Dugong (Dugong dugong) and the Manatee.
- With the exception of typical breathing noises and noises made when it was injured, the Steller's Sea Cow was mostly mute.
Steller's Sea Cow Descriptive Facts
- The Steller's Sea Cow had a proportionately small head in relation to its enormous body.
- The body of the Steller's Sea Cow resembled that of a seal but it was more engorged looking and much larger.
- The epidermal or outer layer of skin was wrinkled, dark and thick, and is described as resembling tree bark.
- A thick layer of fat ranging from 4-9 inches (10 -22 centimeters) protected this animal from the Arctic ice and rocks and cold temperatures.
- Because of very large internal ear bones, it is believed that this creature had very good hearing.
- The Steller's Sea Cow had a flat, paddle-like tail that resembled one you might see on a whale.